Metropolitan Opera investigates sex abuse claims against James Levine

US conductor James Levine conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Paris in 2007.
AFP

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James Levine was also a conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

New York’s Metropolitan Opera says it has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the conductor James Levine.

Mr Levine, 74, was music director at the Met for 40 years before retiring for health reasons in 2016.

The New York Times said the claims were based on a 2016 police report in which a man accused Mr Levine of abusing him as a teenager in the 1980s.

The Times said the Met had been aware of the report since last year.

However, Mr Levine had denied the accusations and the Met had heard nothing further from police, the newspaper added.

The accusations follow a series of sexual abuse and harassment claims made against high-profile figures in the entertainment industry.

In a tweet, the Met said it was “deeply disturbed” by the claims published online and was investigating “with outside resources” in order to take appropriate action.

An Illinois police report, seen by the New York Times, said the alleged victim claimed that the abuse began in 1985 when he was 15 and Mr Levine was 41, and continued until 1993.

Mr Levine has not commented publicly on the accusations.

During his career he conducted more than 2,500 performances at the Met.

He made his debut there in June 1971 with Puccini’s Tosca, becoming principal conductor in the 1973-74 season and music director in 1976-77.

He conducted 85 different operas and also worked with the Three Tenors – Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo.

Towards the end of his career he struggled with Parkinson’s disease and other health issues and conducted from a motorised wheelchair.

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